I am not a native English speaker and was wondering how to properly combine the noun "password policy" and the adjective "based".

So for "policy", I would write "policy-based", but how about "password", "policy" and "based"?

"password-policy-based", "password policy-based" or "password policy based"?


2 Answers 2


Try dancing around it.

based on our password policy
based on the current password policy
based on their password policy

Two hyphens is just uncouth.

  • This is the second answer to a duplicate I've upvoted in two days. Is it getting near Christmas? Dec 1, 2015 at 9:44
  • Not all answers to duplicates are equal, but, yes, it must be the season. Incidentally, I had to think hard figuring out what you mean by "well-notioned SF," but eventually I succeeded. I don't think they're allowed to publish it anymore, so my guess would be Henry Cuttner's short stories purchased at second-hand bookstores (singularly enough, there's nothing of his on the Web). Well. Lloyd Biggle Jr's "Tunesmith" is pretty good, naive as it may be.
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 9:59
  • I had to think hard for a minute. How long ago did I write that? I'm almost certainly referring primarily to Doc Smith's brilliant, inspirational, ground-breaking, mega-wow-factor – but as stylishly written as my last modifier – 'Lensman' series. But I'll look out for your recommendations. Dec 1, 2015 at 10:06
  • 1
    @EdwinAshworth: Good luck with Kuttner (that's how he's spelled, actually). He wrote some of his stuff in collaboration with his wife, and they used a whole bunch of pseudonyms. Still, he was amazingly popular in the 1930's, and surprisingly sophisticated (not to mention astoundingly imaginative, as opposed to ... well, everybody else, I guess). Lloyd Biggle Jr's "Tunesmith" is part of his collection titled "The Metallic Muse." Henry Kuttner is actually available on Amazon. Only read his short stories. The rest is kinda blah, except "Fury," which comes off as dated (the short stores are NOT).
    – Ricky
    Dec 1, 2015 at 10:20
  • Thank you very much and sorry for the duplicate question. I tried searching for a solution, but due to the lack of keywords to search for, I couldn't find anything. Dec 4, 2015 at 10:17

CHICAGO MANUAL OF STYLE recommends using an en-dash in such situations. However, if your first compound is normally open, then it should remain open in the joined compound. For instance, there would be no hyphen between "brick" and "oven" in the above example. As such, you would have an open space between "password" and "policy" and an en-dash between "policy" and "based." Still, Ricky's solution is better.


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